Despite tests that prove genetically altered organisms in crops become a part of the bacteria in our digestive tracts and the fact that polls show that the American public wants more labels on foods that utilize genetically engineered, or GE, ingredients in their production, the U.S. Department of Agriculture now wants to eliminate any controls from genetically altered corn and cotton. The Los Angeles Times reported a short time ago that the Obama administration has approved an "unprecedented number of genetically modified crops," such as ethanol corn, alfalfa and sugar beets.
Food & Water Watch warned in a recent letter: "Monsanto's sweet corn variety flew through the approval process, because it combines two genetically engineered traits that were approved in 2005 and 2008. The USDA does no independent testing of GE crops, and the 'stacked' combination of these traits for herbicide resistance, and pesticide production has never been through a safety evaluation of any kind."
Most alarming to me are the hazardous warnings offered by those like the late George Wald, Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine and one of the first scientists to speak out about the dangers of GE foods:
"Recombinant DNA technology (genetic engineering) faces our society with problems unprecedented, not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. ... Now whole new proteins will be transposed overnight into wholly new associations, with consequences no one can foretell, either for the host organism or their neighbors. ... Going ahead in this direction may not only be unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics."
Again, if Monsanto's own confession is that "the sweet corn seeds are engineered to kill insects living above and below ground and to tolerate applications of the company's Roundup herbicide," what exactly will the long-term effect be upon humans?
Answer: We don't know. But you can bet we will in due time.
Fourteen states have introduced legislation on genetically modified organism labeling, but most face governmental gridlock. So please take action and keep foods safe (non-genetically engineered) by contacting your representatives and demanding that genetically modified food be labeled as such.
The Center for Food Safety, another great watchdog organization, offers a new and free "True Food Shopper's Guide" download on its website and even a mobile application for smartphones to help you avoid GE ingredients wherever you shop. Go to http://TrueFoodNow.org.
And help make sure GE sweet corn is not sold in your local grocery by signing FWW's petition. The group will be delivering the petition to the top 10 grocery chains in the country in the pursuit of stopping GE sweet corn from reaching your plate. Go to http://www.FoodAndWaterWatch.org.
Incidentally, Madere told the LA Times that Monsanto doesn't expect much consumer outcry.
I guess she doesn't know about my culture warrior column and its readers!